Humble and Brave beginnings.... (2024)

I was honored to be featured on Post Post Modern, in an interview with Jacqueline Rendell. I am a sniffy person throughout. It is what it is. “Sometimes you just gotta get ‘er done.”- Author; some guy.

Post Post ModernPost Post Podcast #6Hello, my fellow Stackers! For the 6th episode of the Post Post Podcast, I had a fun conversation with a particularly whimsical and artful guest, the lovely Amy Rosebush. Most of you will recognize her as What IS a name, really?. Amy is what I consider to be the epitome of a supportive and much valued member of our stacking community. Not only does she give her time and attenti…Read more2 months ago · 21 likes · 33 comments · Jacqueline Rendell

Jacqueline has recently taken a great step into her talent, power, magic, and music. She has decided to do the extra work to make some new things happen for herself. In doing so, she is celebrating others in their efforts.

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I am honored to be associated with such a person in their efforts to create something new. During the interview, I was suffering from some accidental self-poisoning. (When I accidentally ingest gluten, I sneeze for a few days.)

Here is to the human body. We love her and all her foibles.

I mean, there are always a hundred reasons why you can’t do something. This is especially true if it is something you love that gives you energy or makes you feel creative.

As soon as you decide to go for something, some contingency gets in the way to make it seem impossible.

Begone Contingencies!

You don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to be perfect. None of us have to be perfect.

Newsflash; I am imperfect.


…………………….I will give you some time to recover.

I have painted for a few years on and off since 2005. But this is the story of my second painting, in 2005. Well, it’s the story of my first painting which was the painting that I turned in to the judges in this competition to win the chance to paint the second painting as a mural for the City of St Cloud, Fl. It’s also a story of a woman who needed to do something big and fast.

So here’s how it went down.

I had a 3-year-old at home and I had just gotten my real estate license. I was running up short on money every month and needed a boost.

So while driving down the road past a shop in town, I noticed that someone had painted a flower on one of the buildings. It was hideous and that made it beautiful to me. That person is my hero. If they ever read this, they need to know that. My opinion of your flower doesn’t matter. The fact that your flower helped me decide to become an artist, is a priceless gift. I am indebted to you, mystery flower painter. Feel free to criticize my work, it is what it is.

The beauty of it was that it gave me the courage to do something crazy and brave.

I had just found out that day through my stepmom, that there was a “mural painting competition” in town. It was the St. Cloud Main Street Program that was looking for mural artists to depict art about its history on various buildings in the historic district.

The job paid $1000 a mural and I certainly needed that right away. I had been deliberating when I saw this inspirational flower that I mentioned.

I thought to myself “Dear God, I have to enter the competition. If the person who painted that flower wins, I will never forgive myself.” No offense, my flower painting friend.

I was inspired to try to paint. I had not done it before. Fortunately, I have always had a little touch of crazy.

I went to the store, bought some supplies, and took my son to my Dad and stepmom’s house. I only had one day left to do the painting. The renderings were due the next day.

The renderings had to be 18 inches by 18 inches.

The winner would have to recreate that painting 18 feet by 18 feet ~

I had drawn my whole life. I knew I could draw whatever I wanted. I had never drawn it 18 feet, however. I didn’t know how to use paint. I wasn’t sure about what colors to use so I chose to paint what I called the “default painting”. The MainStreet Program had provided a black-and-white picture of “JT Burbank, the one-man band.” He used to welcome people into the city when they came in on the trains. He played his drums and kazoo and sang.

We were meant to come up with an idea of how to represent that visually. We were asked to come up with a “concept painting.” I didn’t have time to conceptualize. So, I sat at my stepmom and my dad’s kitchen table and painted the black and white image that had been provided to me, exactly as shown. I decided to paint the red, white, and blue flag in color to “strike the Patriot’s heart”. That’s how I thought of it, anyway.

Also, this kept me with a very limited palette. Again, I had no idea what I was doing. I still thought you used black to make shadows. I know much more about shadows now. I will demonstrate that below with my Spiderman painting which was my second painting. In that one, I started with blue shadows and built my painting on top of that. It turned out much better than my first painting.

I turned my rendering in and said to them, “Here is a default painting. In case you don’t like any of the other entries or concepts. I will just paint the man, himself.”

I won.

So, that was terrifying.

The other mural artists who had won the building around the corner got the scaffolding first. I had to be away from a small child so I was taking note of how much time they were taking to do the grid method of drawing. I needed to be swift. Not just brave, but also swift, and tireless. I was TUNED IN. The other artists took two weeks to get their drawings done using the grid method. They were very nice by the way, so if I mention that they are irritated with me in a moment, it’s not a judgment of their character as individuals, they were wonderful people, it was only a passing irritation.

After they were done, I had the scaffolding and it was my turn and other artists were waiting on me. I had asked the lawn mower business owner, whose parking lot I would be standing in if I could plug in an extension cord so that I might use his electricity that night when I put up my image on the American Legion Building. He said yes. He was a very nice, and accommodating fellow. I had use of someone’s van. I cannot remember whose vehicle it was. It was probably my stepmom’s. She is also very accommodating. I borrowed an overhead projector from a local resource room, set up the scaffolding, got on top of the van, and set up the projector to shine the image on the wall. It worked! However, when you get up close to the wall to draw the line while standing on the scaffolding, the line you are looking at is more like 3 or 4 inches wide, so you have to find the middle of it to mark it with your carpenter crayon.

Learning while doing is a quick way to learn. Luckily I had set fear aside to get to that point. Fear is an energy sucker. I learned that working on construction sites in my late 20s.

Then I realized what I was in for!

Did I mention that halfway through putting up the drawing, a lightning storm moved in? Lightning has been one of my greatest fears in Florida. I had to ride a bike for three years during my late 20s, and I found myself in a lot of lightning storms. I do not play with lightning.

I have had it strike close to me several times.

I feel it in my teeth when I think about it.

And now, here I am under a big oak tree, on a metal scaffolding and the lightning is less than 15 miles away by the looks of it, I know the looks of lightning and its distance. YIKES!

I worked so hard and so fast so that I could get the HECK out of there. I was asking myself the whole time to get down and come back another day. But I just flew through it instead.

The next day, I returned the scaffolding to the other artists. They would have a certain amount of time to paint, and then it would be my turn. One of them seemed annoyed that I got my image up in one night.

One artist said, “HOW did you get your drawing up in ONE NIGHT?” I said, “I used an overhead projector on top of a van.”

That’s making me laugh right now to type it. I don’t think I have been giving myself enough credit in my life.

Then I said something like “Leonardo Da Vinci says that an artist uses the tools of his day”. I heard that in a book once, they were talking about how other artists said he was cheating by using a mirror to paint a portrait of himself. I don’t know how to verify that quote, so if anyone reading this knows more about that, please let me know.

Anyway, the next part of the job was scary too! I had to paint an 18-foot-tall man. You have no idea what his face looks like up close. It’s not like normal drawing or painting where you can sit back and look at the whole image. You have to get off the scaffolding and walk down the STREET to the corner to see “what is wrong” while people are gathered and watching you. People came from around town to watch these paintings go up. It was a nice excuse to be outside. I had 5 or 10 people around at any given moment until I was finished.

I can’t really say how long it took me. I got it done before my allotted time was done. It was exhausting and thrilling. I remember strategizing every night about how to do this and that. I wish I had thought more about the lettering as font. I considered that the least important part of it and it suffered the most. I wish I had not copied the font from JT’s drum. I just robotically emulated what he had done when I should have realized that it would be an eyesore later. No offense, JT Burbank, you DA MAN!

But hey, it was my second painting and it was QUITE a job to do.

So, I am going to give myself some grace there.

Lucky for me, I had just gotten my real estate license and was busy pretending I understood real estate every day. So this wasn’t as big of a leap for me, the pretending. It was a weird time.

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I started painting murals in St Cloud after that. I painted a Spiderman on the wall for my friend, in her son’s room. That was before I understood copyright laws. I just copied the movie poster. I did many more around town. (……not copyright infringement works, haha) The only two I think would qualify under copyright issues were Spidey and the M and M one coming up.

This was my second painting.

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I painted the side of a building at the park to represent the old orange orchards that had been there before. I don’t have good photos. Those are in a computer that bit the dust. Live and learn. Here is a lousy picture of it (I do hold a nice printed photo of it somewhere….)

This was my third or fourth painting.

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I did a garage door, the back of a house, a government play area for after-school kids, some other friend’s houses, my son’s room, and so forth. I painted a commissioned work which was a portrait of a conductor. It was my first portrait of a living person. Luckily he had a very distinctive face and large hands.

It was acrylic on canvas. I think I used black for this one. I wouldn’t use black now, even if his suit was black. I would “make” black now.

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Then I moved on to trying to understand shadows and colors.

I painted this one on canvas and at my leisure.

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I did a mural in a baby’s room which was some M-n-Ms on a beach. M-n-Ms had a special meaning to them. It was the first time I had painted water. I started with green. I wasn’t going to leave it like that, I just wanted to mark my shadows with something. Starting from an empty canvas is not how I like to start. I usually choose a color and kind of navigate the dark and light first. Then I start painting my stuff using that as a guide. Anyway, the customer was worried at first about that water. Painting murals for people can be a lot of pressure. You have to explain every stage to them, and of course, you can’t say “This is the first time I have painted water, but I think it’s gonna work.” Haha. I did my best not to let her stress compound my stress. They were very nice people and they were happy in the end, and so was I.

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I have done much better water since then.

This was never finished. I was just doing a hands study. Hands are hard!

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I included this in an earlier post, but since I am missing a lot of images of previous paintings, I will include it again here. Plus others may not have seen it at all. So, here is my kitty cat in front of an old window I keep at home for artsy stuff. That’s my old backyard in the image. I was still copying exactly what I saw for a composition.

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I set myself free from having to look at subject material and allowed myself to FEEL a painting while moving up and down in front of the 6-foot MDO board. It glows in a black light. I want to try that again, but next time, using soft shapes, colors, and texture to create the picture, rather than hard lines. This was kind of like the kinds of things I sketch when I am stuck on the phone with the bank. It’s kind of like zen doodling, but colored in and separated.

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This one, “The Way I Feel About You As I Travel Through Time”, really helped me work out some stuff I didn’t have words for. The action of standing and squatting and moving side to side and making it with no constraints, only freedom, was a lot of fun. And there are some hidden messages in there.

I had to quit actively painting and do 100 other things for a while but I am ready to turn my focus back there, fully. I will be focusing on “the arts” henceforth.

I can’t wait to jump back in.

That’s what I will be working on this year, jumping back in.

I haven’t been able to buy supplies yet. I am paying for a lot of things right now. It may be a while, but I will keep talking about it and working toward it because I know now more than ever before that I must.

My friend just asked me to paint a mural on the shed and fence where I work.

It will be manatees and gopher tortoises. I am looking forward to getting back to it. It’s been a long time since I did one. They will pay the cost of supplies upfront, as per my contract, so I am assured of having some nice paintbrushes very soon! After that, I just need gesso and paint and I am off to experiment again.

I am just going to play for a few months and see what happens before I try anything serious. I will need a break from serious after the manatee and tortoise painting anyway.

My Illustrator piece awaits me like, “Gurl. When are you gonna get over here and finish me?” Me, “No, idea, sugar face, but I’mma comin’.

Go! Go! Go! ~ Rest Rest Rest :)

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Humble and Brave beginnings.... (2024)
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